Influence of Autonomous and Partially Autonomous Vehicles on Minnesota Roads


Andre Espindola, Lee Alexander, Rajesh Rajamani

May 2023

Report no. MnDOT 2023-23

This project focuses on experimental tests of the performance characteristics of autonomous vehicles (AVs) on highways and local roads in Minnesota. The project provides detailed data characterizing AV performance, which in turn can be used to inform the transportation community on implications for infrastructure maintenance, winter road maintenance, work zone guidelines, safety, and traffic capacity. The experimental work presented here makes use of a new autonomous vehicle purchased by the Center for Transportation Studies at the University of Minnesota. The key aspects of the autonomous functions of the vehicle studied in this project include winter performance and implications for road maintenance, characterization of the driving performance of the AV and its likely influence on safety, traffic flow and fuel economy, and the ability of the AV to handle work zones and the implications on changes needed to the guidelines for work zones. The project documents the major challenges and obstacles ahead in the way of true autonomy on Minnesota roads, but also outlines further areas for research with which it will be possible to facilitate the improvement of the capabilities of autonomous vehicles in Minnesota in the future.

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